Marco Mendicino, the Immigration minister, shared some new coronavirus updates this morning on how the pandemic will impact Canada’s immigration system in the near future.
In a sixty 60-minute discussion with the Canadian Bar Association’s Immigration Law Section, Mendicino touched on topics such as immigration levels plan, temporary foreign worker, and international students.
Immigration Levels: Canada will remain open to immigrants after COVID-19 pandemic.
“Immigration will absolutely be critical to our success and our economic recovery,” Marco Mendicino said.
“We continue to depend on immigration, it will be an economic driver and this will be the guiding star of our policy going forward.”
The Minister observed in his new coronavirus updates speech that the pandemic will not change Canada’s long-term demographic trends. Canada’s worker-to-retiree ratio is gradually falling, which means that the country will continue to need newcomers to drive economic growth.
He also stated that this is not the first time Canada has faced a pandemic and economic challenge, but , Canada has continued to grow in spite of such challenges thanks in part to welcoming new immigrants.
Mendicino said the federal government will consult with stakeholders on the future of Canada’s immigration levels in advance of its annual immigration levels plan announcement prior COVID-19 crisis.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) staffs are working remotely which is affecting the department’s ability to process immigration applications quickly. Nonetheless, IRCC has setup remote operations to enable its staffs to access the tools they needed to facilitate processing.
This period has enabled IRCC to improve and innovate its processing in some regards. For instance, IRCC has been able to expedite the processing of seasonal agricultural worker under its Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP).
Temporary Foreign Workers
Mendicino said that Canada’s immigration ministry is staying close in touch with the seafood and agricultural sector employers in support of the federal government’s plans to strengthen Canada’s food supply.
“Is there more that we can do? Absolutely. And we are always thinking at ways to create some additional flexibilities around work permits, really removing any barriers that exist abroad,” Mendicino said.
The Minister also pointed out that one of the greatest challenges in getting temporary foreign workers into Canada is often the set of circumstances that are within the scope of the source countries from where they are coming. The other things beyond IRCC’s control are market demand, where some sectors, the minister anticipates, will see reduced demand in certain products.
International Students: Minister hint at more flexibility
Mendicino stated that IRCC is extremely grateful to various stakeholders who have provided feedbacks on how the federal government can adjust its international students’ policies in response to the outbreak. He noted IRCC’s recent Post-Graduation Work Permits reform which enables foreign students who take online courses to remain eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit.
IRCC remains in consultation with post-secondary stakeholders on how it can help foreign students that will be enrolling in Canadian designated post-secondary institutions during the September intake period, which is normally when most foreign students begin their programs in Canada. The minister added “stay tuned” for more information.